Shoplifting, Retail Theft

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If you’ve been arrested for shoplifting in Chicago or anywhere in Cook County, you are in the right place. Everything on this page is built to help you make an intelligent decision. It comes from me, Chris Shepherd, a Chicago shoplifting lawyer who has helped hundreds of people since 2005 through the same thing you now face.

Basic Information on Handling Chicago Shoplifting Arrests

Whether you took the item for the thrill of it, or are falsely accused, you should know the basic facts about the crime of “retail theft”, also known as “shoplifting”. (720 ILCS 5/16-25)

First, you may receive a written demand from the store to pay a civil penalty, usually around $1,000. The best way to handle this demand is best discussed in person or over the phone. For now, do not pay the demand.

Second, misdemeanor shoplifting can be upgraded to a felony. If any of the following apply to your case, there is a chance that charges can be upgraded to felony retail theft:

  • Is the full retail value of the items more than $300?
  • Even if the full retail value of the items is less than $300, have you been arrested for shoplifting or any other crime before?
  • Did you use an emergency exit?

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How Do I Keep a Shoplifting Charge Off My Record?

Can you get a shoplifting case totally dismissed without having to plead guilty or spend a ton of money fighting it? Yes. As a Chicago shoplifting attorney, this is a specific result I have achieved for many clients in the past. It is possible, through negotiations with prosecutors, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement that gets the case totally dismissed. You will have to give something in exchange, like take continuing education classes on the psychological impulses underlying shoplifting. After the case is dismissed, you can even have it expunged from your record.

Can we get such an agreement for your case? It depends on several factors:

  • What courthouse are you in?
  • Who is the judge and prosecutor in charge of your courtroom?
  • Have you ever been arrested before?
  • What is your general background? For example, do you have any involvement in the community, are you the sole source of income for your family, was this an anomalous act in a lifetime of good behavior?

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How to Beat Your Shoplifting Case

The other way to keep a shoplifting case off your record is to fight and win it. Any lawyer that handles Chicago shoplifting cases should always be on the look-out for such opportunities. Perhaps you forgot the items were in your cart or on your person. Or maybe you had to run out of the store in a hurry for an emergency. Shoplifting requires knowing intent, forgetting is not enough. 

This is just one example of a winning defense, there are literally hundreds. The takeaway here is that, while settlements is preferable in shoplifting cases, there are strategies in place for dealing with unsuccessful settlement negotiations. Whatever the specific facts of your case may be, false arrests and accusations happen all the time, you are not the only one.

Let’s Talk About Your Options

Going through a shoplifting case may be one of the most stressful things you will ever face, but you don’t have to do it alone. Since 2005, I’ve guided hundreds of people through the same ordeal you are now facing. I offer a free and confidential 15-minute consultation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking advantage of it. Call me: 312.396.4112, or contact me online.

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